Why does the Torah consistently say כאשר צוה ה׳ את משה or some equivalent after describing the making of each step of the priestly garments (Exodus 39:1, 5, 7, 21, 26, 29 and 31) but not in the context of the construction of the Miskan itself or its vessels, other than in a very general way (Exodus 36:1 and 38:22)?

  • 1
    The Torah does use that language regarding the setting up of the Mishkan, though (40:16 and so on) Mar 1, 2016 at 3:19
  • Matt, it also uses that language regarding the "setting up" of the priestly garments (Vayikra 8).
    – Double AA
    Mar 1, 2016 at 4:56
  • Three theories: since the Kohanim weren't ready to don the clothes yet, they were "done" for now, unlike the building pieces which could still be assembled; making the priestly garments was more directly assigned to Moshe (perhaps? cf. Ex 28:1-3, 40:1-2) so it gets a KaAsher... Et Moshe; priestly garments don't need the structure to function (Makrivin AAP ShEin Bayit) so they were "done" after being made, unlike the structural stuff which needed assembly.
    – Double AA
    Mar 1, 2016 at 5:05
  • @DoubleAA I also thought that it had something to do with the garments being complete, while the building still needed construction, but it would be nice if someone could dig up someone else who noticed this. Your second theory... begs another question I think Mar 1, 2016 at 6:16
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    Perhaps an additional point can be made - Chazal tell us that Betzalel contravenes Moshe in re-ordering the construction by placing the mishkan before the kelim, while Moshe puts the aron first. Moshe agrees with this process but that therefore means the individual components were technically not "כאשר צוה ה׳ את משה" even though the completed project was. The bigdei kehunah were not changed, so they merit individual commendations of כאשר צוה ה׳ את משה. Mar 2, 2016 at 13:23

1 Answer 1


Rav Hirsch, in his commentary on Pekudei 39:1 states that the individual garments were commanded separately and were considered complete as soon as they were finished and ready to be worn. The mishkan and its utensils, such as the curtains, etc, could only be considered done after the entire mishkan was assembled.

כאשר צוה ה וגו, it says this when recounting the finishing of the making of the garments, but not at the finishing of the various components of the משקן. This is only said later when the parts were assembled and the Mishkan erected in Ch. XL,19 and 21 et seq. Each separate garment was considered finished as soon as it was made. But the curtains forming the Tent, the furniture of the Abode etc., could only be considered completed when assembled and the Mishkon erected.

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